Unrolling the mat

Time to get back on the mat.

Finally, I’m back on the mat. How long has it been? If I don’t count the two sessions I had last year, then it would be a couple of years since the most recent sun salutation. Naturally, it’s back to square one with every inch of muscle in my body (very) tight and weak, knowingly the cause of my bad posture, back pains, bulging abdomen and skyrocketing level of bad cholesterol.

It’s back to square one with every inch of muscle in my body (very) tight and weak.

Getting back to yoga just after my liposuction in July of last year would have been the perfect time. Minus the dreaded fats around my belly, the asanas could have ushered the six-pack abs I was dreaming for ages. But of course, I had a gazillion of excuses not to go back on the mat.

Holiday Gym holds daily yoga classes.

The first step back to a healthy regimen is always the hardest to take, that much I know. A short break can lead to an extended vacation then laziness engulfs me, potential energy remains that—potential. Then the storage room around the torso magically grows instantly to store joyfully reproducing fat cells.

Stepping out of my slothful lifestyle, I finally unrolled my mat again and joined yoga classes not of Nikki’s, the lady who got me on the mat and whose classes I exclusively attend.

Holiday Gym offers daily yoga classes with a frequency that came as a wonderful surprise. From one class a day, four days a week with a handful of students back in 2005, it has blossomed to 2-3 classes daily for six days and one class on Sunday with a room filled to capacity most times. Davao is hugging the practice in multitude.

Strength & flexibility are two the benefits of yoga.

Lora who took her teacher’s training course (TTC) in Bali, Indonesia leads the Power Yoga derived from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It’s a vigorous exercise (and challenging) that lets you “flow” you from one pose to the next through the power of inhaling and exhaling.

Lora ending a Power Yoga class.

Vinyasa flow should almost be dance-like once you get the hang of it. Not in my case (yet), remember its back to Base 1 for me. Stepping back on the mat is already a major achievement, surviving my first class (advanced at that) of the year is major-major accomplishment.

Lora leading a Vinyasa Flow class.

Fritz completed his TTC in Manila and instructs classes in Ashtanga with Anusara principles—“flowing with grace,” “following your heart.” It was the same yoga principle I was introduced to by Nikki. With the familiarity, the session with him was a bit gentler and ideal for me. Getting used to the proper alignment again teaches me to “flow” and “move with grace” through the sequence. This he also applies in his yoga-pilates fusion classes where I also had fun.

Fritz teaches Ashtanga Yoga with Anusara principles.

I have yet to attend the classes of Jumil (instructs a matial arts based yoga) and Philip, Holiday Gym’s first yoga instructor, which I’m sure will be very interesting as well.

Now that I have stepped out of my comfort zone, I am back on the mat, still with the same intentions I had the first time I stepped on it—flexibility, strength and the health benefits. It may be a new instructor leading me to these aspirations but just what like yoga taught me, I am embracing the new experience.

Yoga-Pilates fusion class led by Fritz.

Thank you Boo and Piluchi for your kindest “delivery service” to the gym, to Ivy for always keeping the welcome mat on Holiday Gyms front door, to Fritz and Lora for your heart-opening yoga sessions, and Nikki for making me connect with yoga. Namaste.

For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/ and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 16, 2014.